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Cradle Crap - The Ongoing Saga

Little L's hair is slowly coming in, and it is obvious that she inherited her fine hair and wavy curls from Hubbs' side of the family. Part of the reason why her hair hasn't grown more by now has been her ongoing war with cradle cap.

I noticed it when she was just a few months old, but figured that it would clear up as she got older. It hasn't. So when she was a year old, I started trying to remove the hard "scales" by gently rubbing her scalp with a moisturizing oil (olive or coconut) or lotion. Usually this resulted in the shedding of several clumps of hair attached to the crusted scabs of skin. Then the scalp would feel less "bumpy" and a bit more hair would start to grow where the dried skin had come off. Every few months, the cradle cap would either return or the remaining spots would begin to bother me again, necessitating another exfoliation of her scalp.

Little L has never complained, either about my constant scalp massages or the skin on her scalp. She never scratches her head either, so I assume her rash isn't itchy and that she doesn't even notice that it's there. My family doc told me that it's completely natural and not a concern if it's not bugging the 2-year-old who gets bothered when she has a "sticky neck" or wears a shirt that is "too sparkly."

This last time round, I totally greased up her head with cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. It made her hair look so slick and greasy that I had to put her in pigtails just to avoid people thinking that I'm a neglectful mom. Since I applied it just before bedtime, I left it on her head for a full day and night. By the time I went to wash it off (using Cetaphil because it's supposedly gentle and good for eczema and psoriasis), the oil had seemed so much into her skin and hair that even after washing, her fine locks seemed a little greasy. That said, the scabby bits kept flaking off (this is good), and now her scalp is feeling decidedly less "bumpy." She still has a few remaining bits of the crap on her head, and I have no doubt that it will probably recur with a vengeance at some point, but for now her skin is at an acceptable level of smoothness and I am looking forward to seeing a bit more fullness in her hair when it grows in again!

Have you had to deal with toddler cradle cap? What non-medicinal remedies have you tried? What's the prognosis?


Andrea Firmani said…
We talk about cradle cap in the the prenatal classes I teach and follow up with the fact it is really benign. I think it is more of a concern to the mother than the person with the cradle cap.
Hate to say it, but leaving it alone *may* result in a similar outcome. If it feels better to oil, comb it out etc...than no harm.
My 2.5 y.o who is a blondie has a mild case. My nearly 6 y.o also had some and it was less and less by the time he was 4.
Good luck!

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